Alaska Airlines will become the second U.S. airline in the global oneworld alliance, along with American Airlines, effective March 31. But it turns out Alaska Airlines miles will not be redeemable on oneworld airlines that haven’t already been partners in the Mileage Plan program at that time. Instead mileage redemption on new partners in oneworld will have to wait until summer.
In other words Alaska Airlines has rushed the work to join oneworld, and will actually join before it’s done. This means customers will be able to earn miles on new airlines, crediting to their Mileage Plan account – and more airlines will award airlines for travel on Alaska – but customers don’t gain access to spend those miles on more airlines for a few more months.
This helps square a circle that vexed me. Last month I wrote that Alaska Airlines told me they wouldn’t change their award chart when they joined oneworld and promised 90 days’ advance notice of changes to their current awards.
But how was this possible?
- Alaska doesn’t let you combine partners into a single award, but presumably entering oneworld would entail the ability to combine partners into a single award
- They also do not currently publish award prices for travel between all regions of the world, since they’re very regionally-focused.
- And prices are different for each partner airline, but adding more oneworld partners might otherwise mean a unified award price chart
This seemed to suggest that Alaska would keep separate charts for each airline, and perhaps add a new chart for combining more than one airline in a single award. That’s not necessarily the case. Instead we now know that while Alaska Airlines is planning to join oneworld March 31, they will not allow redemption on new airline partners until summer (at an unspecified date):
Currently some of Alaska’s one-way sweet spots include:
- Cathay Pacific to Asia in business (50,000) and first (70,000)
- Cathay Pacific to Africa in business (62,500) and first (80,000, though expect to fly first only US-Asia)
- Cathay Pacific to Australia in business (60,000) and first (80,000, though expect to fly first only US-Asia)
- Japan Airlines to Southeast Asia in business (65,000) and first (75,000)
- British Airways first class to Europe for 70,000 and to Africa (80,000)
- Qantas to Australia in business (55,000) and first (75,000)
Cathay Pacific First Class
Will these sweet spots last? We don’t know. We’ll have to wait until closer to the time that Alaska launches oneworld award redemption, and hopefully honors its pledge of 90 days’ advance notice if they are making changes to the pricing of awards on their current partners.
(HT: Loyalty Lobby